Paul Horrell11 January 2011

Detroit 2011: Hyundai Veloster coupe

Koreans are on a roll with sleek VW Scirocco rival and funky ‘urban crossover' concept

Curb

Hyundai was on a serious roll already, and the Detroit show finds it in even better form. The Veloster is an intriguing Scirocco competitor, and the Curb concept is a lip-smacking go at the Nissan Juke idea.

The Veloster is a front-drive coupe with a pretty sleek profile on the driver's side. On the passenger's side it looks subtly different, but you can't quite see why. Until it dawns on you that the door is shorter than on the driver's side and that there's another door behind it. Viewed from one side it's a three-door hatchback, but on the other a five-door.

See more pics of the Hyundai Veloster

Is this some strange programming error in the factory robots? Nope, it's the real thing, though the reasons for it are rather harder to fathom. Something to do with safe and easy access to the back seats from the kerbside, but a proper coupe look from the road side.

Hyundai says that - unlike the Mini Clubman - the door arrangement will be properly reversed for us right-hand drivers.

The US gets it first, but our version comes to the Geneva show in March. Engine is a 1.6 turbo, and there's a twin-clutch transmission option.

The Curb ‘urban crossover' (pictured below) is just a concept, and a good one too, inevitably leading to a (inevitably watered-down) production car. The Saab-like glass area is hardly original, but it sits well on the nicely scooped lower body and hipbone-shaped lights.

Inside it's got the usual show car touches including multi-part display screens, pod seats and suicide doors. But it also has something Hyundai is introducing on its production cars: BlueLink. This is a fully voice-activated connection pack for phones, music, nav and reading and composing emails.

Sending emails while driving sounds like a game of chicken with very short odds, but Hyundai says it doesn't distract you because you don't need to jab at a keypad. The system turns your talk into characters. Maybe it's OK just to write dumb emails. Composing smart or funny or well-argued ones is definitely going to take your mind off the driving.

BlueLink also has a social networking element: you can send your live location to friends, and see theirs. At any rate, provided they all drive Hyundais.

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